But Google’s algorithm is shrouded in mystery.
Like a fickle lover, it tells us it likes something and then seems to change its mind when we deliver. Sure, Google releases search quality evaluation guidelines— clarifying its preferences like some sort of Match.com profile on steroids. And analysts like Backlinko and Moz do a pretty awesome job of attempting to unpack it all for those of us who would rather search for humorous giphys than attempt to digest all of those one hundred and sixty-four pages.
But the exact algorithm can only be hypothesized.
It’s truly a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside Google’s cavernous enigma (as glorious as Google thinks its cavernous enigma may be).
GOOGLE LIKES A NICE BODY:
SEO REQUIRES STRUCTURE AND FRAMEWORK
We do know that web structure is important. The guidelines list all the usual “must haves”:
→ Clean web architecture
→ High page load speed
→ Domain maturity
→ Domain authority
→ Domain security
→ “Whois” Status
But Google isn’t all about solid framework. Sticking with its retired claim that it’s not evil (ahem….), Google cares much more about what’s on the inside.
When a Google crawler checks out your site, it’s looking for much more than a great body. It wants the whole package. And what’s on the inside, my friends, is CONTENT.
BUT IT LOVES WHAT’S ON THE INSIDE:
QUALITY CONTENT IS THE KEY TO OPTIMIZATION
Great content establishes your site as authoritative, relevant, up to date, and credible– all major factors in search quality evaluation. Let’s breakdown content’s appeal, seeing it how a discerning crawler might:
♥ Great content is a snappy dresser. HubSpot’s “Ultimate Guide to Google Ranking Factors in 2019” declares that “keyword optimization is one of the most important factors you can address in your website’s SEO strategy.” So great content is all dolled up with fashionable keywords, but not the ones just anyone is wearing. And it’s never, ever ostentatious. Keyword stuffing is like too much bling– tasteless and gauche.
♥ Great content has the power of instant attraction. The topic, headline, and opening sentence are so undeniably sexy that viewers can’t stop themselves from clicking through. Some believe that those CTRs help a site boost their SERP rank for certain keywords.
♥ Great content doesn’t just look good, it can also hold a conversation. It’s interesting and engaging, seducing your audience into a longer session duration and lowering bounce rate– all of which could improve ranking.
♥ Great content has depth. It’s fresh, authoritative, and even well researched. In fact, some experts are seeing a positive correlation between outbound links and SEO. This means that properly cited, quality research does more than just establish your authority– it helps your authority get noticed. And we all like a little brand recognition.
♥ Great content is popular. When content shows authority and thought-leadership, other sites want it hanging around, creating backlinks that help you rank.
♥ Great content is articulate. Grammar and spelling mistakes indicate poor quality. So does content that’s written at a lower reading level. Google doesn’t like flim-flam.
If content is so important in the quest for Google-bot attention, then why are so many businesses still outsourcing their content creation to content mills?
Why are so many companies still hung up on the numbers game, filling their site with a ton of poorly written blog posts that lack authority or substance?
Don’t they know that “more” doesn’t always mean “better”?
Didn’t they learn from the famous Panda-Update-Upheaval of 2016— companies scrambling to remove poor quality content before Googlebots caught on– like teenagers scrambling to clean up after an alcohol-fueled rager before mom and dad found out?
Maybe they just refuse to believe that something more than looks could matter.
YOUR CUSTOMERS SHARE GOOGLE’S ATTRACTION FOR DEPTH:
CONTENT WILL CARRY THEM THROUGH THE INBOUND FUNNEL
But wait, even if these companies don’t believe Googlebot has evolved enough to discern the good content from the bad, let’s consider a little thing I like to call ROI. Is it better to purchase ten poorly written blogs for the price of one expertly written piece?
According to most experts, uh… no. In fact, Hubspot calls content creation the “ultimate inbound marketing practice.”
Quality content, even though it’s more costly up front, has the potential to generate considerably more revenue– especially when it comes to building brand awareness and establishing your company as a thought-leader.
Even a cursory cost-benefit analysis is convincing:
High Quality/ Low Quantity
Low Quality/ High Quantity
|Expert keyword analysis guarantees keyword optimization with no risk of stuffing.||It’s cheap! You can purchase a blog from a content mill for about $100 versus triple that (at least) from a skilled copywriter.|
|Engaging copy creates a better user-experience, increasing dwell time.||You may achieve keyword optimization accidentally, by virtue of quantity, but you risk stuffing and content that seems repetitive. And cross your fingers that your purchased content isn’t recycled; Google will ding you for repetition without canonical tags!|
|Quality, well-researched content establishes you as a thought-leader.||High quantity CAN help build topic authority, but it will backfire if the quality is subpar.|
|Solid outbound links to reputable sources help SEO and can lead to network-building opportunities.||You may achieve higher click-through-rates (maybe… if you have some pretty awesome headlines)|
|Authoritative content can result in backlinks that help SEO and builds brand awareness.|
|High-quality content is less likely to be duplicated content.|
|Downloadable quality content can be used to beef up your subscriber list.|
|Quality content won’t make you look or feel like a shmuck when you share your site at parties.|
Now, is all the writing produced by content mills or by novice writers bad? Of course not.
There are many reasons good writers choose to work in content mills or agree to write a 1000 word blog for $100 on Upwork. Some can produce content like a one-person-word-factory, churning out dozens of blogs a day. I’ve yet to see it (and I certainly couldn’t do it– this post took me hours), but I’ve read the claims. There are also quality writers who are new to the industry and just need to build their portfolio. They’ve got the skills, they just lack the experience.
So, you’re not guaranteed a loss if you purchase content from a content mill. But you’ll have far less chance of a win. Especially since Google and your customers want more than a nice body and a pretty face.
Ready to start working on your insides? Click here for more information: